You’re much safer whizzing down the highway than walking through the entrance at work. So says Liberty Mutual‘s Workplace Safety Index.
While 5% of serious work-related injuries occur in highway accidents, five times that many are linked to slip and fall accidents inside businesses of all kinds. The cost: around $12 billion annually.
“Workplace injuries waste resources,” says Gary Gregg, an Executive Vice President at Liberty Mutual. “Improving workplace safety protects employees and helps companies better manage their financial performance.”
The first step to eliminating slips and falls is to acknowledge them. For example, in 1998 when repetitive motion injuries were identified as a problem, remedial efforts reduced them by 35% within eight years. Slip and fall accidents increased by 18% during that same time.
“The statistics don’t lie,” says Adam Soreff, Director of Communications for UniFirst, which provides facility services products to companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. “That’s a lot of potentially costly liability.”
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, most slip and fall accidents on business premises occur due to wet or dirty floors. That’s why the “best defense” against slips and falls are rubber-backed floor mat systems.
“You want a proven ‘floor care safety system’ in your place of business,” says UniFirst’s Soreff. “A good floor mat system not only looks great, but it protects customers, employees, and visitors from injury and can help safeguard your business against costly litigation.”
Look for floor mats certified by the National Floor Safety Institute. Start by placing “scraper” mats, with raised, rubber cleats, before all entrances and exits, followed by carpet-top “walk off” mats inside, and “wet area” mats where needed. Outdoors, Soreff says heavy nitrile rubber is best “for improved stability and gripping.” Inside, you can use attractive nylon pile rubber-backed mats to hold additional dirt and water, which hug floors better. But, Soreff cautions, floor mats only work properly when deep cleaned regularly – something most businesses are not equipped to do. “Simple vacuuming of store bought mats removes only 10% of trapped dirt.”